Rocco Seyboth is no stranger to the many facets of B2B marketing. His career is dotted with experience at major players (AWS, Symantec) and start-ups (several with successful exits), Rocco is currently the VP of Marketing at LinearB and also makes time to pay it forward by advising start-up founders/CEOs on go-to-market strategy, marketing and sales.
What was the biggest a-ha moment of your marketing career?
“The biggest a-ha moment of my marketing career was realizing that B2B marketing didn't have to be so boring.”
Rocco explains why we should leave the traditional formality of conventional B2B marketing and focus on the humans that are making these big purchasing decisions. “You are selling to people from big companies, but they're just people. They have a sense of humor. They like to have fun. And when they're evaluating brands they want to buy from, not thinking about how professional your marketing is. So that means talking to them like they're people, and thinking of them as consumers instead of buyers from some big corporation."
When did taking a risk in your career pay off?
I feel like I've taken a lot of risks in my career.
“The [risks] that have paid off the biggest have been people.”
I've been lucky enough to hire some marketers that had no experience, weren't an obvious fit, but I saw something special. Either they really lived and breathed our core values, were creative, had the ability to solve problems or were just hardworking. Some of those incredible hires went on to do amazing things and really punch above their weight class. Experience does matter, but sometimes it's worth taking a chance when you find that special person. For me it's paid off.
What advice do you have for marketers trying to take their career to the next level?
I have two pieces of tactical advice for marketers trying to take their career to the next level. The first is
“Write every single day.”
Rocco emphasizes that, “The only way that we'll get better at writing is about getting more and more reps.” Specific roles in marketing, like managing technology systems, planning events, running programs, or doing paid media campaigns may not involve writing copy or messaging every day. But Rocco points out that everyone in marketing could get a lot better at their jobs if they were great at writing copy. And that the only way to get better is to practice.
The second piece of advice is about how to learn and soak up new ideas. I find that the absolute best way to get great ideas that people aren't already using throughout marketing is by looking at vendors.
“Vendors' job is to push the needle forward with their product, and the best thought leaders are at start-ups that are trying to sell us things in the marketing organization.”
Rocco acknowledges that the first impulse is to ignore these vendors - it’s uncomfortable that they’re trying to sell us something. “And yet that's actually why what they have to say is incredibly valuable. I’ve gotten some of the absolute best advice, ideas, areas of inefficiency to be improved from young, up and coming vendors who did not have a name but who are cranking out a lot of thought leadership content around their product.”
Tell us about the impact of a successful campaign that your team recently executed.
"For B2B marketing, LinkedIn campaigns are great because you can target your persona, the exact ideal customer profile, and you can control your spend. It's a really powerful marketing tool for campaigns. We were running a pretty typical B2B LinkedIn campaign playbook, where we target an ad for a gated piece of content, like an ebook, to a certain persona. When the person clicks the ad, they landed on our landing page, and in order to get this piece of content, they had to pay for it with their email address. Very standard.
Recently we decided to take a risk. Instead of advertising a traditional piece of B2B content like an ebook, we decided to run an ad promoting a blog. A blog that had a lot of personality, was informal and still had a lot of incredible ideas for our audience. But it was informal. And then we decided to do something even more radical. We ungated the content. So now when the when the customer clicked the ad in their LinkedIn feed it just went straight to our blog they didn't have to pay for that content with their email address.
"And guess what? The results skyrocketed."
We actually ended up converting more email addresses. And more importantly, we had more people raise their hand, and ask to have a conversation or a demo with our sales department. So our cost per lead actually went down. We converted more email addresses. We got more people who were interested in progressing further and talking with us all because we took a risk on giving great content with personality and ungating it so the maximum amount of people possible would be able to read the content.
What do you see as the role of video in marketing going forward?
Rocco discusses the four different types of video that are weaved throughout everything that LinearB does.
Highly produced videos
Rocco describes the highly produced videos that we’re all familiar with. These take a major investment, and may take place in a studio, with green screens, teleprompters, the full set of tools. For LinearB, and many other companies, these videos are incredibly valuable, and used in high-profile situations like the home page of the company website in the top hero. These videos take a long time to conceptualize, shoot, and produce and are very expensive.
Tools like Drift video and Vidyard help LinearB create faster videos with less production value. The Drift chrome extension makes it easy to record videos that include what’s on the desktop and Vidyard as has a webcam and screen recording tool.
Reality TV videos
Rocco has found that LinearB customers are really interested in learning about the people at his company, and what they do to deliver the product. This valuable content content can be captured on the fly by iPhones.
LinearB also leverages a lot of personalized video in sales and marketing. These individual videos are created for customers in a certain context, like when they first download a white paper, sign up for a free trial or when they first sign up for our service. Technology today makes it easy to create personalized video and customers really love it."